Goldfish in the horse trough
nibble at morning’s surface.

They are not busy;
they are breathing.

The sparrow threading straw
under the eaves lifts whips

of time to his mate’s music.
This is the opposite of business.

Birds, even singing, can be
the architects of our silence.

Would you be healed by being?
Then be here.

Of course, that’s obvious, isn’t it?
There is no other where.

Last night, the horse laughing
in the field grunted me to still-standing.

So I stood and listened after
my friend went to bed

having asked me, without wheedling
or pleading, Can you make me feel

not like a failure? I can’t, I said.
But I can advise you to watch

the wagtail drop from this eave
like the plumb-line of rain falling.

It doesn’t fret about the minutiae
of rising. When needed, it rises.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry



Erik Norbie

abstract image of a close up of a glass filled with red liquid, in front of a background that is blurry and makes a natural gradient: white at the top, a thick band of emerald green, a thin band of lighter green, an even thinner but darker band of green, and then a white strip again that is faded into.



Katherine Soniat

Carol of the Infuriated Hour


David Brendan Hopes

For the Virgin of Sorrows


David Brendan Hopes

Pin It on Pinterest